Manchester United have been in and out of the European Super League all in the span of just 48 hours. The most hectic two days in world football in recent memory ended up with the 180-degree change of direction from all six English clubs and the approaching disbandment of the whole idea of a breakaway league. So what has really happened in those 48 hours and what all of that means for Man United?
Man United Betray Their Fans
Led by Joel Glazer, Manchester United have signed up late on Sunday night to be one of the 12 founding members of the European Super League, a breakaway league that was supposed to be led by Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid. That league was supposed to start already in August 2021, they have claimed, with 20 clubs, 15 of which would be on a permanent basis, and the other five would be entering it on some kind of a sporting merit.
The 12 founding clubs were supposed to be the Premier League’s Big Six, Spain’s trio of Real, Atletico and Barcelona, alongside Italy’s three greatest clubs – Juventus, Inter and Milan. There was talk of huge amounts of money these leagues would get for playing in the so-called ESL, led by the backing of JP Morgan. However, things took a different turn on Tuesday and went so far that Ed Woodward had resigned from his executive vice-chairman role.
Everyone Else Against The Super League
We have seen in the meantime many players, coaches, managers, leaders of other football clubs and, most importantly, huge swathes of fans being against the European Super League. That closed shop of a competition was threatening to ruin the football we know and on Tuedsay particularly, there were many powerful messages against this competition. Marcus Rashford led those from Man United players, Luke Shaw had sent out a strong message as well, while it was reported that Shaw and Harry Maguire even had conversations with the club, highlighting to them just how hurtful this competition would be.
UEFA Brings More Money To The Table
Late on Tuesday night, all six of the English clubs have changed their decision and opted for getting out of a Super League that never really took off. Fans around the world took this as a big win for their cause, but in the end, the most realistic reasons for this could be the fact that the leades of the ESL did not think the idea through and also the fact that UEFA has decided to try and drastically increase the financial prize pool for seasons to come. Some reports are even suggesting they will try to make a total prize pool reach 7 *billion* euros, which would mean all these clubs will the end get even more money and create even greater disparities in football than they were right now.
It seems that ESL is a failed idea, but just for now. We will continue having UEFA competitions played normally, the format of the Champions League will change in 2024 to make it more boring, with 36 teams and without group stages, but rather with a ‘Swiss format’ of playing 10 matches before the knockout stages. The richest clubs will probably not try another Super League idea for a few years, before their financial greed continues growing and they start wanting even more than they are getting. So we might be getting into a vicious cycle in which the richest clubs will have even more power over the rest of European football and their Super League again becomes their primary idea. But until then, let’s enjoy this victory…